Voelker Orth Museum


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School Programs

The Voelker Orth Museum offers hands on school programs in science and the humanities.

School Programs 2015-2016

The Voelker Orth Museum occupies a landmarked 1890s house and Victorian-style garden in Flushing, Queens. Our unique location allows us to offer a variety of engaging school programs in both science and local history for a diverse range of ages and abilities.

A picturesque oasis in a sea of brick apartments, our Museum provides a cost-effective, engaging, and relaxing space for visitors to experience local history and horticulture. All of our programs include a hands-on learning component as well as outdoor activities in our garden. The intimate setting allows for us to give our full attention to one visiting class (up to 30 students) at a time.

We aim to support our colleagues teaching in classrooms around the city by developing programs that complement New York State's Learning Standards and the Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy.

Grades PreK-6 Programs:

$95 per class (material fee included).
Available Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Class size is strictly limited to 30 students and 4 adult chaperons at one time.

Programs can be readily adapted for audiences with special needs.

Programs include an outdoor component, please dress accordingly.
School bus parking is available in front of the museum on 38th Avenue.

Advance payment is required. A full refund is available for cancellations up to 15 days prior to the scheduled program

Please call (718) 359-6227 or email education@vomuseum.org to make a reservation.

Right click here to download a copy of our school programs brochure

Right click here to download the registration form

Science Programs:

Terrarium Gardening

Miniature glass gardens were first introduced by Dr. Nathaniel Ward in 1827. After a brief introduction to the history and concept of terrariums, participants will explore the processes that drive nature's water cycle and the basics of plant life, including the things plants require in order to grow and thrive, their life cycles, and how plants respond to changes in their environment. Students will construct their own terrarium garden to take home.

This program strives to meet the following NYS Science Standards:

Physical Setting, Standard 4: 2.1a, 2.1c, 3.1g, 3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2c 4.2a.
Living Environment, Standard 4: 1.1b, 1.2a, 4.1d, 5.1a, 5.2a, 5.2g, 6.2a, 6.2c

Key Concepts: Water cycle, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, groundwater, energy, the needs of plants, life cycles, environment, adaptations.

Teacher's Resources:

Terrarium Gardening

Terrarium care

Animals in the Garden: An Introduction to Ecology

The Voelker Orth Museum's garden provides a habitat for many remarkable creatures. While exploring our garden, students will examine the relationships between plants and animals and learn about the things animals need to live and grow. Students will discover the special characteristics, adaptations, and behaviors that allow organisms to thrive and learn how they can attract these animals to their own garden!

Please select one theme per workshop:

A. Birds, Our Feathered Friends

-Students will use recycled materials to create a bird feeder to take home

B. From Caterpillar to Butterfly

-Using collage techniques, students will craft a butterfly “camouflage” mask to wear

C. Who is Afraid of Honey Bees?

-Workshop includes a visit to our working bee hive (excluding winter months). Students will sample honey and create a collage-art quilt as a class to take back to school.

This program strives to meet the following NYS Science Standards:
Living Environment, Standard 4: 1.1a, 1.1b, 1.2a, 3.1a, 3.1c, 3.2a, 4.1a, 4.1e, 4.1f, 4.1g, 5.1a, 5.1b, 5.2b, 5.2c, 5.2d, 5.2f, 5.2g, 6.1b, 6.1e, 6.1f, 7.1b, 7.1c

Key concepts: The needs of living things, animal anatomy, life cycles, adaptations, competition, animal behavior, environment, ecosystems, habitat, animal/human interaction.

Teacher's Resources:

Who's Afraid of Honeybees Pre- and Post Visit Guide

Who's Afraid of Honeybees Vocabulary Sheet

Who's Afraid of Honeybees Take-home Art Activity

Plants We Eat

plants we eatDo you know where carrots, French fries, popcorn, grapes, and kimchi come from? Using a variety of familiar fruits and vegetables and NEW tactile touch boards, young learners will classify plant parts, learn their functions, and identify how plants produce food for themselves and other animals. In addition to sampling various vegetables and fruits, students will discuss the life cycle of plants and tour our backyard kitchen garden.

*This program is readily adaptable for young learners (pre-K and K)

This program strives to meet the following NYS Science standards:

Physical Setting, Standard 4: 3.1b,c,f.
Living Environment, Standard 4: 1.1a, 1.1b, 1.2a, 2.2a-b, 3.1.b-c, 4.1b, 4.1d, 4.2b, 5.1a, 5.1b, 5.2a, 6.1a, 6.1b, 6.1f.

Key Concepts: The needs of plants, life cycles, pollination, plant reproduction/seeds, plant anatomy and classification, food production, environment, plant adaptations.

Teacher's Resources: Plants We Eat Pre- and Post Visit Guide

Humanities Programs:


 A New Home in a New Country

Step inside our historic house and be transported back in time to turn-of-the 20th century New York to learn how one immigrant family made a home in Flushing, Queens more than 100 years ago.

Through group discussion, hands-on examination of artifacts from the Voelker-Orth family, and art making activities, students will explore the themes of immigration, culturalidentity, and community building. This program focuses on the story of Conrad Voelcker, a newspaper publisher who emigrated from Germany in 1881 and published German-language newspapers in NewYork City.

Students will make connections to their own heritage and cultural identity while considering the challenges and opportunities faced by immigrants settling in a new community, including how immigrant groups preserve their own heritage while at the same time developing a new American identity.     

Hands-On Activity: Following exploration in our historic house, students will develop their information literacy by closely examining one of Conrad Voelcker's newspapers. In a culminating printmaking and writing activity, students will create their own imaginary newspaper advice column for recently-arrived immigrants, complete with a hand-printed image. 

This program strives to meet the following Standards:

Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy:
RI.4.3-5; RI.5.4,5,8; W.4.9; W.5.9; SL4.1-3; SL5.1-3

NYC Social Studies Scope and Sequence Elementary Performance Indicators:
1.1a, 1.2a-c, 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a-c, 2.2a, 2.3a, 2.4a-c, 3.1a

Grade Level:
Recommended for 4th and 5th grade. Adaptable for middle school audiences.

Key Concepts: local history, heritage, tradition, immigration, community, geography, information and visual literacy, culture, artifacts and primary sources.

Teacher and Student Testimonials

“[Our] students were able to learn new vocabulary and broaden their experience.”
-Rosa Alayo, Teacher, P.S. 166 Queens

“The beehive was so interesting! …I like everything we did at the museum. Thank you!”
-Eva, 3rd Grader from P.S. 209.

“[A New Home in a New Country] is local, very reasonably priced, makes a connection to our social studies unit, and a connection to the community.”
-Kelly Piazza, Teacher, P.S./I.S. 499

“It was really fun. The one thing I really liked is when we went to see the beehive…I think it was a wonderful trip and I hope I can go there again in fourth grade.”
Steven, 3rd grader from P.S. 209

When asked if they would recommend our programs to a colleague…

“YES! Absolutely! I will be bringing my class back next year. The staff is knowledgeable, engaging, and very friendly.  Our students were constantly engaged and curious about the activities of today. We can’t wait to come back.”
-Stephanie Caldon, Teacher, P.S. 86 Queens

“Yes, because it was engaging and hands on.”
-Mrs. Maher, Kindergarten Teacher, P.S. 144 Queens

“Yes, I would recommend this program to a colleague. It’s both informative, and fun!”
-Teacher from P.S. 144 Queens about Terrarium Program

“Yes, definitely. [The program] was well developed and executed. The students were actively engaged. I like how they received very personalized attention both individually and as a class.”
-Alice Cascardi, Teacher, P.S. 66 Queens about Honeybee Program

Urte demo

Excited onlookers watch master beekeeper Urte Schaedle demonstrate honey extraction during a bee program Photo by Dina Antonucci, 2015

A third grader shows off her terrarium

butterfly program
A young student wears a collaged butterfly mask


149-19 38TH AVENUE, FLUSHING, NY 11354  |  718-359-6227  |  CONTACT US  |  © 2014 THE VOELKER ORTH MUSEUM